Thursday, 18 February 2016

Brussels football grounds - 3 classics

Brussels is a must visit for any football fan, groundhopper or a lover of stadium architecture , just back from a weekend of games but I also managed to visit a number of other grounds including these 3 classic grounds- big thanks to Peter Miles for steering me in the right direction. Have a read of his blog or get issue 7 of 'The Football Pink' for more historical facts about these 3 great grounds.

Stade De Vivier d'Oie ( De Granzenvijver)

My fiest classic visited is no longer a football ground anymore, now a joint hockey tennis club in a posh Southern suburb of the city but it may now be an astro turf  hockey ground it still is a must visit for any football historians.

It was here in 1904 that Belgium hosted there first ever football international, v France - one of the first international matches on mainland Europe and though it is hard to think of football being played here the stand still has so much character with its tree branch fencing, slightly ruined by the placing of a few VIP seats.

The old entrance to the ground is also worth having a look at on the Avenue du Racing - go on a weekend and the hockey and tennis club is certain to be open giving you a chance to think back to what it must looked like at the start of the 20th Century.

Drie Linden Stadion (Three Limes)

Still in the south of the city we find the largest club stadium in the whole of Belgium but the home club play in the sixth tier of Belgian football, sunk in a bowl, it reminded of two of the large grounds just outside Hamburg that also can be found in many parts of Germany, often with surrounding woods. The stadium can hold 40,000 but now would see a crowd of 1,000 a success!

The stand is quite impressive but it is the large tracts of terracing, still evenly laid but now with grass covering much of the long side of terracing - as I was leaving a local team turned up to play a minor Brussels league game, in England a game of the same standard would be played in front of 10 friends on a park pitch, these lucky lads were about to play a game in front of 10 rounds but on a great bowl that can hold 40,000, (but not a crash barrier in sight!)

Stade Adrien Bertelson

Slightly harder to find and you are now back in a more urban area, in fact the small car park outside the ground was being used as a lorry park but as the ground is also a communal athletics track, you will find it open most days.

Now home to a lower league Brussels side, Maccabi Brussels, the first club to play here for a while, again you will be impressed with the swathes of terracing, a ground that has held first division matches in two periods covering a total of 5 years.

Crash barriers can be found here but not of any shape or built of a material that would be recognisable at a UK stadium.

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